It is a very common infection, in fact, so common that estimates suggest it affects 10 % of global population at one time ( Source : Wikipedia ). When people get toenail fungus, they often become embarrassed because the affected nail does not look nice. It acquires a yellowish or greenish tinge and starts to crust off. But, instead of just letting the body heal it, one can try many home remedies on it to see if the infection goes away much quicker. Many people have gotten very quick relief from a infection that seems to last very long.
Toenail fungus is technically known as Onychomycosis . It is a fungal infection which can take ground in fingers or toe nails and stay there. The symptoms of toenail fungus are –
- The affected nail starts to discolor. It can start to take on a different color, commonly yellow, but sometimes green, greyish black or off white.
- The nail thickens and loses uniformity. Ridges and depressions appear on the affected nail, signifying damage.
- There may be foul smell emanating from the nail.
- At later stages, the edges of nail bed may show signs of fungal infection, like crusting, scaly skin, flaking and discoloration.
- It causes itching, like most other fungal infections.
There can be many causes for getting a toenail fungus, like while swimming, from your shoes, via contact with someone affected with it . Toenail fungus is mildly contagious infection, it spreads from person to person but not too rapidly.
( Photo Courtesy: eepaul)
2. Avoid shoes, slippers, sneakers at home
This simple advice is worth a lot. The toenail fungus hates air. It likes your feet to be warm, moist and conducive for its growth. This is done when you cover your feet in shoes or even slippers. Go barefoot in your house and this would be great. Keep a small fan at your work desk and let it blow air on your feet. This provides immense relief from itching.
Boil some water. Let it cool slightly and add apple cider vinegar ( 1 part ACV to 2 parts water ). Then immerse feet in this solution and relax. This comfortable and relaxing treatment works against toenail fungus. Vinegar provides an acidic environment in water, which is not suitable for the fungus.You can also use other vinegars, like white vinegar, or balsamic vinegar. All kinds of vinegar kill fungus. The action is mild, but it helps, as most of us have vinegar at home.Do this 2 – 3 times a day.
4. Coconut oil ( The best home remedy for toenail fungus )
Numerous people apply coconut oil on the nail and it helps with the infection and appearance of the nail. That is because coconut oil is one of the most powerful antifungals in nature. This is because of the fatty acids like lauric, capric and caprylic acid in it.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ( cold pressed )
- Directions / How to use
Wash the feel nicely. Dry them up. There should be no moisture. Now apply coconut oil into the nail and around it. Use a fine cotton bud and apply coconut oil underneath the nail. Let it stay that way.
Keep applying coconut oil whenever it dries out. Coconut oil is well absorbed into skin, so you would have to reapply many times. But it takes just a minute.
- Why it works ?
The superior fungus killing ability of coconut shows its potency. Within a few days, you should see marked improvement in the look of the nail and other symptoms.
“Use extra virgin coconut oil in diet. It is the finest remedy for candida fungus. ”
5. Mouthwash ( with thymol in it )
There are many companies that make mouthwash. Look for the one which has thymol or thyme oil in it. This is a compound extracted from thyme, which is a popular herb. Use it for your toenail fungus. Take a cotton ball, soak it in mouthwash and apply direct on the nail and along its corners. You can also use it by putting some mouthwash in warm water, but that dilutes the active component, making it less powerful. Thymol, coming from thyme is effective at killing fungus and molds. If you see a mold growing in your home, throw some mouthwash at it.
6. Cinnamon Oil
Just as you would use tea tree oil, use cinnamon oil in place of it. The oil of cinnamon is effective at killing fungus strains causing toenail fungus . And it acts faster than many other remedies. Make sure that the oil you are getting is made from Ceylon Cinnamon, which is the most potent variety of cinnamon.
7. Olive leaf tea
The leaf of olive is an immune booster. When the immune system is geared and focused towards this infection, it works to overcome it quickly. You can boost your immune system by drinking 1 cup of olive leaf tea a day.
Olive leaf tea bags
- Directions / How to use
Prepare a strong herbal tea by infusing about 1 tablespoon of dried herb in 300 ml water. Boil it once and then cover it with lid for 15 minutes. Let it steep. Then drink this herbal tea. Once a day is fantastic for your immune system. It can act against the fungus more effectively.
8. Epsom Salt Soak ( for itching relief )
If you are experiencing itching, prepare an epsom salt bath or feet soak. Immerse you feet in lukewarm water and enjoy the goodness. It feels great, each time and very relaxing. It provides relief from itching, promotes healing of the nail and improves blood flow to the region.It is noted that poor blood flow to the extremities is also a risk factor for long standing toenail fungus. People with diabetes are therefore at a higher risk for not being able to recover fast, same with sufferers of PAD ( peripheral arterial disease ).
9. Vapor Rub For Toenail Fungus
Remarkable home remedy for getting rid of this fungus, especially the ones which do not respond to above mentioned remedies. Vapor rub is cooling and it kills the fungus.
Vapor rub ( any good brand )
- Directions / How to use
Take a small amount of vapor rub on palm and apply it generously on the affected nail. Keep it overnight or at least for 3 hours.
Do this once every day.
- Why it works ?
Vapor rub is a meticulously designed formulation. It contains many anti-fungal ingredients. It also calms the itch brilliantly.
10. Give Yourself A Pedicure
Get a nail file or pumice stone and gently scrub off the edges of the affected nail. This prompts it to grow from inside and heal faster. It is helpful to keep the nail in perfect shape. Try to scrape off anything that comes out. Do not be too harsh on the nail, as it is already in damaged state. There are cases of people who accidentally took their nail off and got injured. If the nail is protruding out, cut it with nail cutter first. All the usual stuff. Then soak the nail in warm water and use some spa ingredients to cleanse your feet. It feels great and your feet will thank you.
11. Neem oil
Apply a little neem oil on the toe. It smells bad but it works really fast. One can see improvement overnight. However, neem oil is not commonly found in houses and mostly one has to get it from the market.Neem oil is strongly antiseptic, insecticide and also works against bacteria and fungi. Generally, it can be applied directly, undiluted on skin, but you got to check first by doing a patch test. Neem oil can provide much faster results for toenail fungus treatment at home.
Take a magnifying glass. Sit in the sun and focus its light on the toenail that is affected. Do not burn your toe by shining highly pointed light on it. Just heat the nail to the point you can bear. Heat imparted by focused sunlight kills the fungus. Studies confirm that heat at about 60 degree Celsius starts to kill the fungi. This can be damaging for your toe if done excessively, but it is fine if done every few days.Do not sit for more than 10 minutes.
13. Garlic juice
Crush just 2 cloves of garlic. Strain out their juice and apply it on the nail. Do not apply directly as it may sting and cause chemical burn. Dilute the garlic juice with some olive oil. Stir well and then apply this mixture on the toe. For longer lasting remedy, you can take a sterile gauze and patch this liquid on the gauze. Tie it firmly up against the affected toenail.Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic. It kills the fungi and provides relief from the itching. However, one should apply something which prompts the nail to heal on top of this.
14. Stuff That Works But You Should Probably Avoid
These are some home remedies, but not natural, which can and do work for some. But, they should be avoided as far as possible because they are considered harmful for the skin.
- Household bleach – Since bleach gets rid of mold, it should get rid of toenail fungus as well.
- Hydrogen peroxide.
- Nail polish – The remedy involves applying a thick coat of nail polish on the affected nail.
- Snakeroot : This is a plant which has roots that look like a snake. An extract from its leaves can cure toenail fungus. NOTE : Snakeroot however is quite poisonous. It can cause milk sickness. So, do not make the medication yourself. Consult a herbal practitioner and get the herbal extract from a renowned firm after confirming the product with your practitioner.
Laser treatment seems to be highly effective and much faster acting that most of the home remedies, over the counter products or any other present treatment methods. So, fingers crossed to Laser toenail fungus removal.
Update – Laser treatments have finally arrived for toenail fungus cure. It costs somewhere between $ 700 to $ 1200 depending on the laser type and technique and also the clinic. It is costly, but that’s the newest technology on the block.
Home remedies are effective for toenail fungus. But, it can take a long time, sometimes even months for them to completely eradicate the fungus. They are however almost inexpensive in comparison to the costly laser treatment. However, in case of a really bad toenail fungus, home remedies may not be able to act fast enough. So, you can consult your doctor.
1. Tea tree oil in the treatment of tinea pedis.Tong MM, Altman PM, Barnetson RS
2. Mechanisms, clinically curative effects, and antifungal activities of cinnamon oil and pogostemon oil complex against three species of Candida.Wang GS, Deng JH, Ma YH, Shi M, Li B
3. Treating onychomycoses of the toenail: clinical efficacy of the sub-millisecond 1,064 nm Nd: YAG laser using a 5 mm spot diameter. Kimura U, Takeuchi K, Kinoshita A, Takamori K, Hiruma M, Suga Y